*This page will be updated with work in progress on the flight suit.
There are flight suits available on Ebay that are not very accurate. I suppose you could buy one and modify it, but then you may as well just start from scratch.
The fabric used in the series was from a company called Sommers in Clifton, New Jersey. “High Intensity Chromaflair Satinstretch” is a polyurethane-coated, polyester-backed fabric that has a smooth, satin-like surface. Unfortunately, that exact colour is no longer in stock and the minimum requirement is 240 yards. The material is very expensive due to cost of pigment. Over $40 per yard.
It only takes about four yards to make the jumpsuit, so I will be hunting around my local stores for something close enough.
I will post progress work on the flight suit here.
First attempt: (Failed)
To start, I found some faux canvas on an abandoned camping stretcher, a nylon strap with plastic buckle and a textured foam mat. Using cardboard to adjust for the right size, it is ready to trace onto the canvas.
My friend Darwin, has been so kind to me. He saw my pathetic attempt at making the wrist computer in the cuff, then built me an amazing replica on his CNC mill. The wrist computer is actually a talking watch called a Nixon Dork. The watch is about $800 new, but you can pick up used ones on ebay from time to time for a couple of hundred. I didn’t want to spend that sort of money on such a small detail, as right now I need it to build the Viper.
The three pictures below show in order: BSG original prop, my crappy attempt, Dar’s much more professional replica.
My anonymous benefactor has just made me feel like a kid again!! The genuine fabric for the Viper Pilot flight suit is amazing. Nothing like what I imagined. So glad I didn’t try to source a near enough alternative in Australia, just guessing from photos. Every photo I’ve seen of it looks different. He’s even gone to the trouble to trace out the entire pattern for me. Totally blown away by such kindness.
I have a family member who is a seasoned seamstress and she has agreed to work with me on this. I will be spending some time sitting with her to familiarise her with the screen-used suit and all of it’s attributes.
The samples sent to me by my benefactor were super handy. The guy at the fabric store actually worked on the costumes for the sci-fi series, “Farscape”, so he knew what he was on about and was very helpful. The local materials he found as an alternative differ in texture, but that can’t be helped as the original is so unique and discontinued years ago. The colour properties are also different, but unless compared side by side, not many would notice. The camera tends to exaggerate that difference, but to the eye it is close. I also bought piping cotton and the foam to stitch into the back scales.
Below are some reference pictures from the series, plus some fan-built costumes. I do not own the rights to any of these pictures they are all gleaned from internet image searches.
Flight suit details
Below I will try to compile information I have harvested from all over the internet, fans, official sites and any other source available to me to make it comprehensive.
ID# B080502The silver cuff material is also made by Sommers and is also high intensity Chroma Satin Stretch in soft silver/green
ID# D060803The back scales material is also from Sommers and is called, “Asteroid”. The colour is called Marcasite.
Shoe information thanks to an insider #1
There were 3 or 4 different shoes used. The main shoe was from Payless and was a knock off of the Nike Air Max model that was available at the time. It was first learned they were from Payless from the costume designer of the mini-series. She revealed this to a member of Dewback Wing, where the majority of the BSG costume research was being done back then. Confirmation came shortly after when pictures were sent of the shoes to a law enforcement shoe identification website and it came back with a 100% match.
Many BSG costumers have bought the Nike Flightposite shoes because they came in a colour that matched the green/gold of the flight-suits exactly.
Shoe information thanks to Geoff at Midwick Armory
The original Hero shoe was the Cross Trekker Zip-Hi, a Payless knock-off of the Nike Future Flight. It was long gone from stores by the time people figured out what it was, and there’s no secondary market outside of production used shoes because it’s from Payless… The Nike Future Flights (2003 version) however, still pop up on e.bay from time to time.
They also used the Nike Chosen (2002 version) for background pilot shoes – They aren’t as fancy, but have a similar overall look, and are more readily available. By the end of the show, they were using a wide variety of similarly styled shoes to fill their needs, but those are the two most commonly used by costumers.
Another shoe, Nike Flightposite, was actually manufactured using the same colour fabric as the suits (all the other shoes were painted) so a lot of people use it (though they’ve gotten a bit expensive as of late) – they have a different look than the shoes from the show, but are still futuristic looking, and since they match the fabric exactly, they blend in nicely.
On sizing, the future flights run small, the chosen’s are true to size.